Joshua briefly related the history of God"s people all the way back to the time when they lived on the other side of the Euphrates. Terah, Abraham"s father, and his son Nahor worshipped false gods. God directed Abraham"s path to Canaan and gave him Isaac. Jacob and Esau were the two sons born to him. Esau was given the area around Mount Seir and Jacob went into Egypt along with his children. God sent Moses and Aaron to deliver his people from Egypt and used plagues to cause their release. He destroyed Pharaoh"s chariots in the sea and was with Israel in the wilderness. He kept them safe in the wilderness and gave them the land of promise. They did not win the land by their own power but with the hand of God. They reaped the harvest of crops they did not sow (Joshua 24:1-13).
On the basis of all God had done for them, Joshua urged the people to serve God and renounce all the gods their fathers had once served beyond the Euphrates and in Egypt. That they had a choice is clear from verse 15.
All must recognize that one cannot serve the true God and false gods at the same time. (Matthew 12:30.) The choice must be made immediately while God is still readily available and receptive to the sinner (Isaiah 55:6-7). The best choice is for God because he can take care of those who follow him now and in the world to come (Matthew 6:33; Matthew 10:28).
The people chose God because of all the good he had done for them. Joshua did not immediately accept their commitment but made them realize that God is jealous and will punish all who profess to follow him yet still serve other gods. Yet, the people still said they would serve the Lord and Joshua told them their own words would be witnesses against them. When they still accepted, Joshua told them to put away idols and give their hearts to God (John 4:24). This they committed to do and let Joshua set up a rock as a reminder of their agreement and wrote their decision in the book of the law of God.
After the renewal of the covenant, everyone went his own way and Joshua died. They buried him in his inheritance. As a fitting tribute to God"s great leader, the text notes the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua and the elders who served with him. The people also buried the bones of Joseph in Shechem as had been promised years before (Genesis 50:24-25). Eleazar, the high priest, also died and was buried by his son Phinehas (Joshua 24:14-33).
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Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Joshua 24". "Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany